Showing posts with label butternut squash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label butternut squash. Show all posts

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Butternut Squash Pasta with Leeks and Fried Sage #Thanksgiving #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE:  Suppose you have a hankering for a side dish for the holiday that’s a little different, but keeps the spirit too? And suppose you have vegetarian guests coming who won’t share in the turkey? Here’s an unusual autumn recipe that might solve both problems. I happened to have both gorgeous sage and leeks in my garden when I first tried this, but grocery store sage will work fine too...


    1 medium butternut squash,
    8-12 fresh sage leaves, stems discarded
    3 medium or 2 large leeks, cleaned and finely chopped
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
    1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    1 lb rotini or penne
    1 cup chicken broth

    Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve on the side

Cut the squash open, seed it, and cut into slices. Place this on a baking pan with the garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Cool and peel, then process the vegetables in a food processor until smooth, along with 1/2 cup chicken broth. Keep this warm.


  While the squash is baking, sauté leeks in olive oil until  soft and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the prepared squash to the pan and simmer over low heat, about two minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and season with salt and pepper.


Cook rotini in a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente.


While pasta is cooking, heat vegetable oil in an 8- to 9-inch skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp but still green, under 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.


Drain the pasta and add this to the squash mixture in a large bowl, thinning with warm chicken broth if it's too thick. Decorate with a few of the fried sage leaves, and serve the others on the side with extra cheese.

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We’re so thankful to all of our readers who visit Mystery Lovers Kitchen and share our love for food, mysteries, and foodie mysteries. So we’re celebrating you, our fans and friends, by giving away a book. I’ll send out a copy of DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS to one commenter. Tell me the one Thanksgiving dish you can't live without. Remember to leave your email. 

The new book is hitting bookshelves on December 2--you can preorder here. I'm utterly thrilled with the first book review, from Booklist:

Burdette infuses the mystery with Key West spirit and holiday fun along with delicious food references and recipes. This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery.

And if you haven’t settled on your Thanksgiving menu yet, visit our page chock full of Thanksgiving recipes: Savor the Season!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Pomegranate Seeds #recipe

From Daryl aka Avery:

And the winner of last week's giveaway is…

Kate!  KaroS... at yahoo dot com.  I'll be sending you an email to let you know. Congrats!  And thanks for pinning on Pinterest.

 Lately, I've been getting into cheesy dishes again (big surprise) as I approach the release of my next Cheese Shop Mystery (coming February: DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT).

Here's a beautiful salad to put on your holiday menu. I know, salad? Really? When it's the prime of cookie and candy season?

But this one, as a full salad or as a side, is so perfect for the holidays. Sweet, savory, fun! And colorful!!!

I had something like it at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, Mistral (in Sherman Oaks). It's a quaint French bistro and does a fabulous job with everything on the menu. The salad was a simple twist on an old classic, tomato and mozzarella salad. But the restaurant added pomegranate seeds. Oh, divine. The pop of the pomegranate. The sweetness with the saltiness of the cheese.

Now a pomegranate…I was scared to get into this fruit. I've avoided since I was a kid when the first and only time I tried to pop pomegranate seeds from the fruit, I ended up with stained fingers. For days!!  I had no clue how to do it, and neither did my mother or friends.

But now, with the advent of YouTube, you can find out how to do pretty much anything. I'd seen one video where you submersed the pomegranate in water and popped out the seeds, but I searched further and found one where you pound the darned seeds out. That's right. Pound them out.

You take a common kitchen wooden spoon, a salad bowl, score the pomegranate, peel the two halves apart...

...and then holding the pomegranate, seed side down toward the bowl, spank the back of it with the wooden spoon. Out they pop. No kidding.

It's so easy I'll probably have pomegranate seeds every week from this point forward. I love them and they add so much texture.


Ingredients for the salad:

(serves 4-6)

Assorted lettuce
2 thick slices of tomato per person
2 slices of soft fresh Mozzarella cheese per person
1 pomegranate, deseeded as per above (enough seeds for 6 salads)


(makes 1 cup)


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together. Whatever you don’t use, refrigerate.

Arrange the salad by setting lettuce on the plate. Layer the tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle with balsamic dressing. Adorn with 2-3 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds.

BTW, I'm thinking about a Christmas cookie using pomegranate seeds.  Suggestions? :)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, Krista Davis, Lucy Burdette, Julie Hyzy and I are having a contest on Facebook. It's fun with lots of ways to win. We're giving away a fabulous gift basket from Salt and Pepper books (you know, the store that inspired the Cookbook Nook mysteries) as well as our books. And we might even sweeten the deal in weeks to come. Runs to the middle of December. So check it out. Click on the picture for the link!


Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

Next up: 
Days of Wine and Roquefort Feb 2014, preorder here
Inherit the Word March 2014, preorder here

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Squash and Apple Thanksgiving Casserole

by Sheila Connolly

Thanksgiving dinner at our house was always the same:  turkey with Pepperidge Farm Stuffing from a bag, mashed potatoes, gravy, something green (frozen peas/beans/broccoli), and cranberry sauce out of a can.  After a while we could all make it in our sleep, knowing exactly when each step of the process had to begin.  Once I made a daring departure and tried out a stuffing with (gasp) sausage, which was met with stony silence from the rest of the family.  Back to the bread stuffing I went. Don’t mess with tradition.

But the world is full of culinary wonders!  I’m trying out a new recipe that combines butternut squash and apples.  This year for the first time I can use apples from my own trees, which produced a very nice crop (I can’t claim it’s due to my extraordinary abilities, but I’ve been enjoying the results right along).

A note about butternut squash:  you can buy it peeled and cubed at most markets.  While I am a firm believer in doing things from scratch (and my cute little squashes here came from the last local farmers market), the @#$%& things are hard to peel and cut, and I’d hate to have you whack off a finger, especially right before Thanksgiving.  Take the easy way out and buy it, with my blessing.

The interesting thing about squash/apple recipes is that they can’t decide whether they want to be sweet or savory.  My personal preference is savory, because sweet vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes have always made me gag, and there’s cranberry sauce to add both color and sweetness to the meal.  (And don’t forget dessert!)

From my own tree!

Baked Butternut Squash and Apples

3 Tblsp butter, melted

1½ lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes (another note:  don’t feel bad if your cubes aren’t perfect—just don’t make them too big)

2-3 large apples (you don’t need to peel them, but pick a variety that holds up well to cooking—I used Cortlands), cored and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
The pieces should all be about the same size
1 small sweet onion (Vidalia), coarsely chopped

¼ cup flour

½ cup chicken stock (or you may use apple juice or apple cider)

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a casserole or glass baking pan.

In a large bowl, place the cubed squash, apples and onions.  Toss with the flour, then the melted butter, to cover evenly.  Add salt and pepper.

Ready for the oven
Place the squash-apple mixture in the casserole or baking dish and pour the liquid over it.  Cover it if you like—the top isn’t going to brown anyway, and it will cook more evenly top to bottom. Bake until the squash is tender (about 45 minutes).  This can be made ahead (always a good thing for Thanksgiving!)

Ready to serve!
Variations:  the most common addition is cinnamon, followed closely by maple syrup.  If you like your vegetables sweet, either would be good.  On the savory side, other mavericks suggest adding cheddar or blue cheese, bacon, balsamic vinegar, whole-grain mustard, rosemary or time (not all in the same dish!). 

You know the people gathered around your table.  Make what you think they’d like, and enjoy each other’s company!
Available through Amazon in print and e-formats--today!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to make Nuts on Horseback (a tasty holiday appetizer) from Cleo Coyle

My "Nuts on Horseback" are pictured above. Each is a little package of amazing flavors and textures (sweet and salty; soft and crispy) perfect for holiday appetizers, cocktail canapé trays, or a delicious amuse-bouche before a fall or winter dinner. So what inspired this recipe?

Cleo Coyle is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries,
which are set in New York's
 Greenwich Village.
As you know, I’m usually referred to as "that coffee nut," but I’m nuts about other things, too, including the mounted cops of New York. And, no, I am not referring to them as "nuts on horseback." One mounted police officer recently saved a great many lives when he helped stop a car bomb attack in Times Square. Him I’d call a hero on horseback.

Other cities (including Philadelphia, Boston, and San Diego) have retired all of their police horses, but New York is still employing them. The main reason is that mounted cops can go where cars can’t, such as the city's parks and pedestrian malls, including the one in Times Square. 

If you plan on visiting the city for the Thanksgiving Day parade, holiday shopping, or other seasonal activities, keep an eye out for these mounted officers. Here's a photo I took of one in Times Square... 



As for my recipe, you will find it below. Nuts on Horseback is my own adaptation of a retro treat from Victorian England that’s still popular in the UK for Christmas dinners. You can read more about its interesting history below...

~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle’s
Nuts on Horseback

This is a lovely appetizer for fall and winter: Simply take bite-sized pieces of butternut squash; wrap each in a small strip of maple bacon; secure with a toothpick; brush with pure maple syrup; and roast. 

How much bacon? How much maple syrup? What temperature? I answer all of those specifics in my recipe below and share some tips for making these babies without a hitch.

If you're curious about the odd recipe name, it comes from the recipe that inspired it: Devils on Horseback, in which you stuff a dried fruit (usually a prune or a date) with an almond or with mango chutney before wrapping it in bacon and cooking it. 

As culinary adaptions go (that is, new ones emerging from existing ones) Devils on Horseback was simply a twist on yet another recipe: Angels on Horseback, in which you wrap a raw oyster or scallop in bacon, securing it with a skewer before broiling it. You can read more about these two recipes by clicking here

In my own version, the "nut" comes not from an almond but from the butternut squash, a delicious winter squash. It's in season now so you should find some nice ones at your local grocery.

And if you’re wondering (as I did) why "bacon" is represented as "horseback" in these recipe names, there are two theories: One is that the bacon wraps around each filling like legs wrapped around a horse. The other comes from English history circa 1066 when Norman warriors, before riding into battle, covered themselves in thick slabs of bacon. They did this for two reasons: (1) to make themselves look grotesque—a bonus for scaring villagers during their invasions—and (2) the bacon, when very thick, also worked as well as leather armor for protection. Apparently, they cooked and ate the bacon—if they survived the battle! Read more here.

Now let’s get cooking…

Cleo Coyle's
Nuts on Horseback

Bacon-Wrapped Butternut Squash Bites

Makes about 80 appetizers


1 butternut squash (2 to 2.5 pounds)

12 pieces maple bacon

3/4 cup pure maple syrup


Step 1 – The Squash: First preheat your oven to 400° F. Peel, core, and slice up your butternut squash into bite-sized pieces. It’s important to make them small enough to cook completely through in the roasting time given. If you wish to use larger pieces, you will need to parboil them to make sure they cook through. See my note below on parboiling. 

Tip on Peeling: Use a Y-shaped peeler for the best results in peeling the squash and make sure you peel away all of the skin and whitish rind, which is bitter. Your pieces should be completely orange.

Step 2 - The Bacon: Cut each strip of maple bacon into thirds. Cut each third into two long strips for 6 pieces per strip of bacon. Wrap the squash pieces in the bacon slice and secure it with a toothpick.

Step 3A MUST: Line a half-sheet pan or baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. The maple syrup will blacken as the appetizers cook and the parchment paper or foil will provide easy cleanup and prevent your pan from being ruined.

Step 4 – Using a pastry brush, splash each piece generously with maple syrup.

Step 5 – Roast the appetizers in a well-preheated 400° F. oven for about 25 minutes. You're watching for the pieces of squash to cook through without burning the bacon. If you cut your squash slices small enough, this will work. However, if your squash slices are too large, the bacon will burn before the squash is cooked—solution: try parboiling the slices before cooking the next pan of them (see my instructions below).

PARBOILING TIP: If you want your pieces to be larger than bite-size, you can parboil the butternut squash for 3 to 4 minutes (no more!) to make sure they cook through by the time the bacon is cooked. 

(Optional) Directions for parboiling: bring a pot of water to a full, rolling boil. Avoid being splashed with hot water by using a ladle or large spoon to carefully lower your pieces into the water. Cook for three to four minutes and then use a slotted spoon to remove them, douse them in cold water, and drain well. Follow the recipe from Step 2 onward, and you'll definitely want to...

Eat with  joy!
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

December 3rd...

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

"Top Pick"
RT Book Reviews

A Mystery Guild
Featured Alternate Selection

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
~ Publishers Weekly

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Julia Spencer-Fleming's Spicy Thai Butternut Squash Soup

We are delighted to welcome guest Julia Spencer-Fleming to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today!

I was thrilled to be invited to Mystery Lover's Kitchen, because it gives me a chance to talk about one of my favorite things: food! People don't associate my Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series with cooking, probably because I don't include recipes and my heroine is an Episcopal priest, not a food-related professional. However, as an ex-Army pilot, Clare's pick-up-and-move-in-a-minute hobby was cooking, and the series includes many scenes with Clare in the kitchen, usually teasing out some clues with Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne while whipping up something on her old stove.

Today I'm making one of my old standbys, Spicy Thai Butternut Squash soup. It's my own recreation of a dish I had once in a restaurant, so I make no claims as to it being authentically Thai. It's great for guests as it's easy, delicious and can be vegetarian (using vegetable stock for chicken) or vegan, if you substitute oil for butter. It makes an appearance in To Darkness and to Death when Russ arrives unexpectedly in the late afternoon to find Clare in her bathrobe.

“What kind of soup?” he asked. She could hear it in his voice, too, a deliberate attempt to be casual, as of the two of them hanging out in her house while she was practically undressed was a normal thing.

“Butternut Squash. I made it yesterday, It has squash, onions, chicken broth, peanut butter.” She pulled the Tupperware bowl from the bottom shelf and placed it on the counter.

“Uh...” he looked dubious. “I'll pass.”

Foolish Russ. Later on in the scene, he takes a taste and changes his mind. Here's what you'll need:

2 small or one large butternut squash, cubed

1 onion, diced

1 to 2 tsp ginger, to taste

2 tbs Butter or oil for sauteeing

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2/3 cup coconut milk or cream of coconut (the first makes it strictly savory, the second a blend of sweet and hot)

3 heaping tbs natural peanut butter (never the processed kind!)

1 tsp cumin or to taste

several dashes hot pepper sauce or ground habenero pepper


In a large pan, heat the butter or oil.

Add onions, let saute for a minute

Add cubed butternut squash, saute for a minute or two

Add ginger.


Add vegetable stock to cover (this is usually the whole 4 cups for the amount I make.)

Boil until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat, shift the squash from the pot to a food processor. If you don't have one of these useful devices, you can also gently mash the squash for a chunkier soup.

Puree, then return to the pot.

Mix in the coconut milk or cream of coconut.

Stir in the peanut butter.

Add cumin and hot sauce/pepper. Adjust to taste – I often wind up adding a little more ginger here.

It's always nice to let it simmer a while, but this soup is good served straight away as well. Enjoy!

Julia Spencer-Fleming's New York Times bestselling books have won multiple awards, including the Anthony and Agatha, and have been Edgar and RT Reader's Choice nominees.  The next Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne novel, Through the Evil Days, comes out on November 5th. You can find Julia at her website, her readerSpace, on Facebook and on Twitter as @jspencerfleming. She also blogs with the Jungle Red Writers.